Interview: Metallica on ‘Metallica Through the Never’ & Beyond
CraveOnline: Which songs sound the most different from the album version when you do them live?
Kirk Hammett: Anything off St. Anger because then you have a snare that’s on.
James Hetfield: Or Justice for All, you hear bass. Different live? I would say there are songs that we have edited. I think the one that’s probably one of the most different is “Seek and Destroy” because we’ve tuned it down a whole step. That’s a good question.
Robert Trujillo: I mean, the songs go through different phases. So many years of music, so they’re going to go through these transitions. When I first joined the band, some of the tunings were different than what they were on the album and then they changed again. The tunings changed three different times on some particular songs. I remember one time we went on stage and actually we had three different tunings for one song. I think it was “Jump in the Fire.” It was one of those special moments.
James Hetfield: Not on purpose.
Robert Trujillo: It wasn’t on purpose. It was accidental.
James Hetfield: Playing in three different keys.
Robert Trujillo: Because over the years we’ve played it in three different keys.
James Hetfield: And it didn’t sound better.
Robert Trujillo: No, it didn’t. It was very abstract.
James Hetfield: The more keys there is doesn’t make it more.
Robert Trujillo: Atonal.
Are there any songs you refuse to play live anymore?
James Hetfield: There was a running joke that the song “Escape” was a song that I hated that we would never play live. Of course, we have played it live. I think there are a couple songs we haven’t ever played live.
Kirk Hammett: I think there’s at least eight or 10 songs that we’ve never really approached.
James Hetfield: Not so much from the old, old days.
Kirk Hammett: We’ve never played “Frayed Ends of Sanity.” There’s a lot of stuff off of Load and Reload that we haven’t really looked at year.
I have a friend that requests you play “Disposable Heroes” live more often.
Kirk Hammett: That’s a good one.
James Hetfield: We’ve heard that too. That’s a good song. People do love that. You know, it’s only been 32 years. We have a ways to go.
Robert Trujillo: We’ve been playing that a little more though. We’ve had that one in the set a bit more in the last year.
Is your set usually about 90 minutes, or usually more, a little less?
Kirk Hammett: Two hours.
Rob, you’ve really picked up the songs in record time. What have been the most challenging Metallica songs to learn on bass?
Robert Trujillo: The most challenging Metallica song that I’ve learned on bass is “Frayed Ends of Sanity” but we haven’t played that live yet.
Kirk Hammett: Really? How come? Why is it so challenging?
Robert Trujillo: I don’t know, you’ve got to ask you guys. The middle section. But, you know, being in Metallica and learning the music is obviously a challenge in itself and I don’t think they realize the twists and turns and the galloping moments, the tempo changes that are involved because when you’re in your own little creative bubble and you’re writing songs like this, you get so immersed in them that it becomes second nature to you but when I first joined the band, songs like “Dyers Eve,” that was one of my goals to get the members of Metallica to play “Dyers Eve” because that at the time was a song that had not been played live. That was one of the first left field songs that we got into. So I don’t know, they all feel good to me now but it took a while, I have to say.
In the climax of the movie, when something happens at the concert, did that have to be staged more like a movie shoot?
Kirk Hammett: We did have to film that portion numerous times.
James Hetfield: But it’s part of our show.
Kirk Hammett: It’s in the show.
Robert Trujillo: Scripted? I don’t know if that’s the right word because there’s still some stuff that’s falling down on you. You don’t know where it’s going to end up. Even with Lady Justice, that head was rolling around the stage all over the stage.
James Hetfield: Ended up in the crowd.
Robert Trujillo: Ended up in the crowd one night so there’s still that sense of danger that always exists on that stage.